How You Too Can Travel Well

FAQs, News & Views - Analysis of planes & trains, destinations & accommodations, so you can enjoy your journey in style.


6 Jun

Alaska Airlines Ceasing Emirates Partnership

Alaska Airlines is adjusting its partnerships as part of its intergration into the OneWorld Alliance.  As part of that, Alaska Airlines will cease its partnership with Emirates on July 31, 2021.  

Through 31 July 2021, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members flying on Emirates on a paid ticket, no matter the class, will receive lounge access at the Emirates Business Class flagship lounge in Dubai International Airport (DXB).

There remains a small window of opportunity.  Award redemptions on Emirates are available through July 31, 2021. For future travel, changes made to a booked award on Emirates on or after August 1, 2021, will require cancellation of the award and re-booking on a different Alaska Airlines partner.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given it is another OneWorld member, award bookings for Qatar will become available in August 2021.



5 Jun

Accor Qantas

Qantas announced plans on May 31st to giveaway a suite of mega prizes to Australians who get the COVID-19 vaccine, including unlimited travel for a year.  This is in addition to the announcement a week earlier that it would offer frequent flyer points along with travel vouchers and status credits to Australians who get inoculated.  It is understood the options being considered by Qantas include giving people who get both their two COVID-19 jabs up to 1000 frequent flyer points, flight vouchers towards domestic and international flights, and status credits, which allow people to move into high Frequent Flyer tiers.

Any reward would be available to people who had already received their jabs and the program would run until the end of 2021 when the vaccine rollout is due to be completed; the details are yet to be completed. Now, the national carrier has launched a further incentive scheme which it hopes will boost vaccination rates and help get state and international borders reopened permanently.

“We’re looking at having 10 mega-prizes, at least one for each state or territory, where a family of four can have unlimited free travel for a year on the Qantas and Jetstar networks,” CEO Alan Joyce revealed on Channel 7’s Sunrise program.

The trips would be in economy class and each of the ten winners.  “In addition to that, the Accor Group have come on board and they’re offering one million Accor Points, which gives free accommodation at 400 hotels and resorts across the country.”

Joyce said the program would launch in July, "will include anybody that has already been vaccinated (and) will apply to anybody that's vaccinated through to the end of 2021."

“We have a vested interest in this, we want to do everything we can to ensure the borders domestically open and stay open and that we get international up and running,” he explained.

The airline has consistently said that it will require all passengers to be vaccinated when it restarts international flights beyond New Zealand.

More Australians vaccinated means more potential travellers making bookings.

While the moves may not be entirely altruistic, I think both companies are to be commended for “putting their money where their mouth is” and not just relying on Government to provide support for the ailing sector.

It’s understood that vaccinated Australians will be able to claim their rewards and enter to win a mega-prize through the Qantas app from July.

Don’t be surprised to see if this coincides with the launch of the
Qantas/Accor dual points earning (crossover) capability that was announced in November 2020 as part of a closer strategic relationship between the companies.  This too was scheduled to launch mid-2021 and will be the first partnership of its kind between an airline and hospitality group in the Asia Pacific region.



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12 Mar

Best Western Rewards elite levels at double speed in 2021. Perhaps leverage into another program

Best Western makes elite status in its Best Western Rewards program easier to attain for 2021.  Requirements have been halved for 2021, so you get there twice as fast!  

New Qualifications for 2021*          
Nights   10  5 15  7 30  15 50  25
Qualifying Stays   7   3 10  5 20  10 40  20
Points   10,000  5,000 15,000  7,500 30,000  15,000 50,000  25,000


There will be no downgrades in elie tier levels through January 31, 2022.

 If you attain a new elite tier level in 2021, you will maintain that tier level through March 31, 2023.

The
perks for elite tiers in Best Western Rewards aren't the most compelling (although breakfast is included).  However if you stay primarily in budget/family oriented accommodation it can work well for you.

The program does work very well for Australian travellers staying outside the major city centres.  Regional centres usually offer at least one option, whereas the major chains may not offer anything (different in the US I know).  For these travellers and similar, it can make a lot of sense to accumulate BWR points.

You can always later leverage your BWR tier status into a similar tier in another program.  See here for more details on what you might achieve with a status match from your current BWR tier status.



31 Dec

New Year reflections for 2021

Happy New Year !

last year was a tough one globally with the health and wellbeing of thousands of people impacted.  Our thoughts are with those who have had family and friends touched by this pandemic and also to the front-line healthcare workers who are tirelessly working to keep people safe.  Without you/them our lives would be so much worse.

New Years is a time of reflection for me.  Personally and work-wise.

My initial thoughts for pointsNplaces over for the next 12 months are to post more points program guides (including some very good smaller programs that don't receive the coverage they deserve), more ideas on enhancing your use of points and (as more freedom and opportunities start to be available) destinations.  

I am also tweaking the layout gradually, so this will evolve over time.

I also intend to start adding Airline program guides.  This hasn't been a high priority for last year with the reduced travel due to lockdowns around the world.

I am also contemplating a list of destinations to see and plan for in anticipation of travel restrictions being eased during 2021.  Both short-term and perhaps a "bucket list" too.

But I would also like to know your thoughts.  

Are there any items you'd like to see new articles for?  Even if combining existing content - comparisons of programs for example.

I am open to all ideas that you will find interesting and relevant.

If you would like to make any suggestions/requests (all appreciated), please drop us an email using the "contact us" page.

Best wishes for a happy 2021 and safe travels, no matter how near or far.